Coronavirus pandemic has spread quite rapidly in the past few months. It spreading is worse than the dangerous virus-like Mers, Sars etc. The main way to protect oneself is to wash hands regularly at least 5 times a day for 20 secs. Wear mask only if you are ill and showing symptoms of coronavirus or treating someone who is having coronavirus. Just walking around or grocery shopping wearing a mask will not much be beneficial. Though wearing a hand glove during grocery shopping could be beneficial, because you touch a lot of things around you.
It’s just an update, I know you guys have been seeing these safety rules on a regular basis. In fact, when we open any news whether it be internet, newspaper or tv channel, only one news which comes up is about coronavirus. Honestly, I am also fed up with that news, just hearing about coronavirus is very disappointing.
Don’t worry I am not here to talk about the negative impact of coronavirus, just here to give you a positive impact of coronavirus. I will tell you the impact of coronavirus on the environment.
What is causing pollution
Our environment is getting a little better after the impact of coronavirus, in fact, it is after the lockdown around the world. Now you may say am I accusing you of polluting the environment. Yes, not just you all of us around the world, we all are responsible for polluting our environment.
We pollute in many ways, through the air, water, soil etc. One of the main sources of pollution comes from our factories and our vehicles.
Carbon monoxide emitted from the vehicle due to improper combustion causes major air pollution. Our vehicles use petrol/diesel that comes from crude oil, which is a fossil fuel, they cause an immense amount of air pollution. We rely on trucks, jeeps, cars, trains, aeroplanes for our basic transportation. Carbon monoxide and other such harmful chemicals are also released by manufacturing plants.
Nitrogen Oxides is emitted from vehicles and burning coal, natural gas, also from electric power plants. It is also emitted by cigarettes, wood-burning and gas stoves. Also, Sulfur Dioxide is emitted from the combustion of coal and petroleum, which is a major cause of air pollution.
Agriculture-related activities create a common byproduct called ammonia which is hazardous to the atmosphere. It is mostly due to use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers used in agricultural activities
Effects of Air pollution
According to WHO, 4.2 million people die every year due to air pollution. And 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits. It is due to the respiratory problems people are facing due to the low air quality. Which causes cancer, heart condition and several threats to our lungs and body.
Global warming is a topic which has become a serious issue for the health of our planet, which needs to be addressed asap. Global Warming is causing the rise in temperature all around the world. The rise in sea level due to melting of glaciers at the poles. Unexpected climate change is also one of the reason due to Global warming.
Acid rain is caused due to the mixing of harmful air chemicals like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides with the rain droplets. It falls down and harms humans, animals and our plants.
The ozone layer is depleting due to chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. When the ozone layer gets thinner and thinner the harmful UV (ultraviolet) light will affect the human’s eyes and skins and also our plants.
Water is polluted because of harmful oil & chemicals released from factories, waste from a household is released, waste like plastic and other materials. These easily pollute groundwater, river, lates, sea, ocean or any other body of water. The toxic chemicals from the waste make the water harmful for humans and animals.
The waste and toxic material released by a manufacturing plant or factories are very harmful to the water bodies. The ships, boats and other vehicles which operate on fossil fuels cause water pollution by leaking fuel into the water. Oil extraction is sometimes done by the plant which is situated on the water body, during extraction sometimes their is spillage of oil.
Radioactive waste is generated by nuclear power plants and uranium mining. It is also a result of military weapons testing or research related to the medical industry. These waste should properly be disposed of, which is accidentally or improperly disposed into the water which pollutes our groundwater and other water bodies.
Effects of Water Pollution
WHO estimates 3.5 million people die every year due to water-related. diseases. Diarrhoea, Cholera, giardia and many diseases are caused by contaminated water. Not only diseases other basic necessities which depend on clean water are also affected. Sanitation is affected which also give rise to more diseases.
Our environment is also affected as the ecosystem is depended on a complex web of animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi all these animals interact directly or indirectly. All the marine life is also the part of the ecosystem, who are directly affected by water pollution which then affects us.
The solid waste such as plastic soda cans which are swept away from sewers to seas and ocean can affect marine life by choking and strangling the fishes and other lives in the water.
These are only small effects which I have mentioned above there are much more adverse effects on us and the environment around us. Please follow the WHO site for complete details.
Now let’s talk about Coronavirus pandemic and the effects of it on our lives, our economy, and our environment.
Coronavirus has affected human lives in ways we cannot imagine. Total cases around the world, until 2:22 am IST on 5-5-2020.
We are in a lockdown situation, we cannot come of out of the house, only essential service is available. It is one of the fastest spreading viruses, but less deadly. People with less immunity and prior health issues are affected more. That does not mean others won’t get it, just be safe and stay at home.
This lockdown has affected the economy of the entire world, including India. We are in the worst situation currently, anymore lockdown would make the situation worse. But we cannot remove lockdown unless the complete situation is under control, and we contain the community spread. We need to take steps to reduce the spread of this virus, also to boost our economy.
We have been talking about the negative side only so far, and you must be hearing about all of these elsewhere also. So I would now tell you about the positive side of coronavirus pandemic.
Positive effects of Coronavirus pandemic on environment
Traffic has reduced to quite a good extent. We see very fewer vehicles on the road. Its like night time at any hour of the day. Because of reduced traffic, there are fewer accidents, which is good. Also, fewer vehicles mean reduced air pollution, because vehicles are one of the main reasons for air pollution as we saw above.
Another reason for air pollution are factories, which are mostly closed due to coronavirus. All the major manufacturing units are closed down in most parts of the world. This has reduced air pollution to quite an extent. No harmful chemicals are released into the air which is making the air much cleaner.
Also, less harmful chemicals are released into water which makes the water cleaner. The water near Venice is so clean you can see fish swimming, it is due to decreased boat activity. The Juhu beach in Mumbai is getting clean with almost no human activity. It seems dolphins were also sighted just off the shore near Breach Candy club Juhu Mumbai.
Apparently, the news about dolphins in Venice water and the elephant got drunk and slept in a garden in Yunnan china were fake. But we need to see the positive effects of this lockdown, and seriously consider ourself a threat to our environment. It is us who is causing all the global warming, climate change, depleting of the ozone layer.
Dhauladhar mountain range which is a part of the Himalayan range was visible from Jalandhar which is around 200 km away, due to dip in air pollution.
Overall fewer people on the streets, beaches have reduced pollution everywhere. Garbage on streets and beaches have reduced significantly. I think this lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic has given a chance for our nature to relapse and a lesson for us to treat our environment better. If this lockdown continues we could even see the night sky with all-stars much clearly from our home itself. Though it will not make much of a difference.
Nature does not need us we need nature for our survival. After this lockdown, we need to take care of our surroundings and environment and find an alternative method to all current methods that are causing damage to our nature. We are humans and we can do anything, just see 60-70 years back we have achieved so much in such a short time. We can make the environment better it is just a matter of believing ourself and work towards making our environment better.
Also published on Medium.